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In-house: Lloyds loses wealth management chief to HSBC

Mired in controversy over the restructuring of its internal legal team, Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) has lost another senior figure as it has emerged its head of legal for wealth management and international retail, John Pitt, is set to join HSBC where he will work alongside UK general counsel Hugh Pugsley, also formerly of LBG.

Leading a team of 13 lawyers across three sites in the UK, Pitt’s wide reaching role means he serves as head of legal for Lloyds Private Bank (UK), the Bank of Scotland Private Bank (UK), the Bank of Scotland Germany and Netherlands, Lloyds Bank International (Crown Dependencies) and Halifax Share Dealing (UK).

A qualified barrister and trained at Linklaters, Pitt joined LBG as head of legal in 2009 from Insight Investment where he headed a team advising on issues relating to asset management. Prior to this he served as a senior commercial solicitor at HBOS for four years until 2008 and as a Treasury legal adviser before that.

Pitt is set to work alongside HSBC’s UK GC Pugsley who departed LBG last year. Pugsley, a former associate at Allen & Overy, served as GC for group legal at LBG, overseeing over 60 lawyers supporting the group’s executive functions including providing advice on financial reporting, listing obligations, M&A, corporate development, IT and group operations, treasury, HR, and property. He also previously served as head of corporate M&A for the group legal division.

This latest high profile departure comes amidst reports of low morale by staff at the bank and it is understood that multiple exits from the in-house team are expected in the coming months.

In a bid to prepare itself for the looming ring fencing reforms set to take effect next January, just weeks ago it emerged that the bank had quietly appointed corporate partner Frances McLeman as head of legal for ring-fencing at Lloyds Banking Group. Additionally in February Legal Business revealed the bank appointed a specialist sub-panel for commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) work ahead of its global panel review this summer, with US and Magic Circle firms among those taking places.